While the global diamond industry experienced major declines during the year, Israel saw a steady improvement in its diamond trade in the third and fourth quarters of the year, according to Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor Diamond Controller Shmuel Mordechai, who published figures for Israel’s diamond imports and exports during 2012.
Israel’s net polished diamond exports stood at $5.6 billion for the year, compared to $7.2 billion for the same period last year, a decline of 23%.
Mordechai said that Israel’s diamond trade seems likely to continue to improve in 2013 and return to levels of 2011, which was a record year.
Israel’s net rough diamond exports totaled $2.8 billion in 2012, compared to $3.5 billion in 2011, a 20% decrease.
Net imports of polished diamonds were $4.27 billion, compared to $5.68 billion for the year, a 25% drop.
Net rough imports stood at $3.8 billion, 13 % less than in 2011, when they totaled $4.4 billon.
The United States continued to be Israel’s major market for polished diamonds, accounting for 36% of the market. Hong Kong was the next largest market with 28% of exports, with Belgium accounting for 8%, Switzerland 5%, U.K. 5% and the rest of the world 18%.
Moti Ganz, Chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies (IDI) said that he was confident that the Israeli Diamond Industry was back on track to renewed growth. “While the economic challenges of 2012 affected the entire diamond industry, we saw a marked recovery in Israel’s diamond trade from mid-year. This year we look forward to continuing this positive trend and even to beating our record of 2011,” Ganz said.
IDI Managing Director Eli Avidar said, “We are upbeat about Israel’s diamond trade in the coming year. The US economy is showing improvement, and so is Europe. The Israeli Diamond Industry has weathered the economic difficulties of 2012 and has emerged on a growth path. We’re proud to say that our industry is an island of stability.” Avidar added that the Israeli Diamond Industry continues to be a key factor in markets worldwide. “As a result of our members’ demand, IDI will organize industry participation in more trade shows and in additional markets during 2013,” he added.